Former England No.8 Dean Ryan has hailed Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson after his outstanding display for Toulon in their Heineken Cup semi-final against Saracens.

The World Cup winner kicked all of his side’s points in a 24-12 victory to set up an all-French final against Clermont in May.

Ryan told Sky Sports: “The game was two sides working very hard to try and find the winning margin – and Wilkinson was it. He was the margin for Toulon.

“In both the quarter-final and semi-final he has defined the game.”

Wilkinson’s mesmerising performance was capped six minutes from the end by a drop goal - converted despite a late tackle from opposite number Owen Farrell.

Toulon coach Bernard Laporte was also quick to give his match winner some credit, but hinted that the former Newcastle man might be rested before the final in Dublin.

“Jonny is a great player. We have seen before that he is a great player and we saw it again here,” he said.

“He is 34 next month and he needs more time to recover.”

Despite his age, Wilkinson has expressed an interest in representing the England Lions against Australia, although he played down his chances of going on a third tour.

“It’s fabulous. It’s the most amazing experience you can possibly get in rugby, but I watch fellas like Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton, Dan Biggar and others and perhaps they are the guys who should be driving the tour forward,” he modestly summised.

No matter what happens, the rugby poster boy can console himself with the knowledge he’ll be playing in the Heineken Cup final in Ireland on May 18.

 

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